Book Reviews

Book Review- Animal Planet: Sharks! by Lori Stein



This book was reviewed via Netgalley


Full of colourful pictures, Animal Planet: Sharks! by Lori Stein is a great teaching tool for young kids. Sharks are among the most mysterious, exciting, and oft misunderstood denizens of the deep. There are hundreds of shark species, and not all are what comes to mind when you hear the word ‘shark’. The beginning gives an overview of basic shark features, present in all species. Some of these features are a skeleton made of cartilage, rough skin lacking scales, and a mouth full of several rows of teeth.


I enjoyed reading this with my cubs. We are definitely going to snag hardcopies of this and the Dinosaurs! book. They enjoyed learning about sharks, and even I learned some fun new facts. I had no idea sharks used electroreception, and can sense the electric fields all creatures have. What would it be like if we humans had that sense?


This book was also very good for disabusing the notion that all sharks must be in constant motion. We learned why movement is necessary for survival, and how sharks have learnt, in different ways, to bypass this need, allowing them to settle to the ocean floor. There’s even a cave off the coast of Mexico where sharks can be found napping, making it easy to go near, or even touch them.


We were all disturbed by the leopard shark study. It says that the experiment didn’t hurt the sharks, and maybe that is so, but it still seemed unnecessary and cruel just to satisfy some curiosity. I’m very sensitive to perceived animal mistreatment, and several of the younglings inherited that. We understand about the necessity of tagging animals, but this experiment didn’t involve tagging the animals for naturally gathered data. No, it involved shoving cotton balls up their noses.. Nicky and Daily said someone should randomly kidnap the researchers and do the same to them and see how they like it. Heh. Cublings can be so blunt.

Learning about the sharks’ teeth, and how they are replaced was fascinating. We pulled out the collection of small shark teeth I had gathered with my grandmother many moons ago, and looked at the different types. I also brought out my other shark teeth- nurse, tiger, great white-, and my pride, a megalodon tooth as big as my hand. I also found a pic my sister took of me standing inside a replica of a megalodon’s jaws. Talk about terrifying!


Catsharks were another new thing for me. How did I not know there is a whole class of catsharks? They have neat cat-like eyes, and tend to range on the smaller end of the size scale, with the largest being about 5 ft in length. There’s a species of catshark called pajama shark. That’s too funny! There are many other species of shark, each as unique as the last.


I would have liked to have seen a section on the meg, and other ancient sharks. These beasties have survived in some form or another since the age of the day. Learning about ancient sharks such as megalodon, helicoprion, and edestus woild have been pretty neat. Overall, though, this was a good first look book, and a great addition to any kid’s library.
???? Highly recommended, especially for kids who love sharks or sea life, and natural history. Also as an educational tool for middle-graders.

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